An October Conversation with Bipolar Disorder…


Bipolar Disorder: Trick Or Treat!

Iris: Halloween isn’t until the end of the month. You’re a few weeks early.

Bipolar Disorder: But I want candy!

Iris: It’s not time for handing out candy yet. And, you’re a mood disorder; not a costumed child.

Bipolar Disorder: GIVE me some candy!

Iris: I don’t think we’re really understanding each other very well.

Bipolar Disorder: You think I’m misunderstanding you?

Iris: It does appear that way. Since you keep asking for candy.

Bipolar Disorder: Yeah, well I’m bored!

Iris: And you want this to be my problem, why?

Bipolar Disorder: I’m bored with all the self-care you do. I’m bored with your stability. Mood stability is BORING!!

Iris: I rather like my mood being stable.

Bipolar Disorder: Yeah, and you’re boring. I want to liven things up a little this month!

Iris: Yes, I know you have been trying to do that, haven’t you?

Bipolar Disorder: Wasn’t it fun the other week? Getting only a little bit of sleep that one night, and then waking up with that new short story ready to write?

Iris: Well, yes. That was fairly pleasant.

Bipolar Disorder: And you did a great job catching the whole thing before it faded from your dream.

Iris: Er, thanks.

Bipolar Disorder: You don’t seem very convinced you should be thanking me.

Iris: I don’t believe you have my best interest at heart. No offense.

Bipolar Disorder: Sure I do! Expansive thoughts! Flights of ideas! I can give you all that! If you just give me some more candy!

Iris: More candy? I don’t eat candy.

Bipolar Disorder: That coconut drink you had yesterday was just the stuff. I want more of that!

Iris: I didn’t sleep well last night after drinking that sugary thing.

Bipolar Disorder: Yeah, isn’t it great?!

Iris: No. I would like to return to my usual good sleep hygiene, thank you very much.

Bipolar Disorder: You’re not very cooperative.

Iris: I don’t see that it would benefit me much to be very cooperative with you.

Bipolar Disorder: But what about that short story? Don’t I deserve some thanks for that?

Iris: You can’t take all the credit for my short story.

Bipolar Disorder: But, you don’t dream like that when you’re properly medicated. You said that yourself.

Iris: That’s right. I don’t.

Bipolar Disorder: Don’t you feel more creative and more productive when you’re a little bit Hypomanic? Or even a little bit depressed? I’m great at giving you ideas for gloomy poetry, aren’t I?

Iris: I do feel more creative and productive at those times, yes. But, what you’re offering isn’t all good. You know that.

Bipolar Disorder: Well, yeah. Of course it’s not. Why else would they  call it *trick* or treat? I gave you a treat. I gave you that short story. Now it’s time for my trick.

Iris: I’m not interested in your trick.

Bipolar Disorder: Ugh! Do you know how boring it is? Being in your brain when you take such good care of yourself that I hardly ever get to have any fun?

Iris: That sounds like your problem, not mine. I’m much happier when I’m not having to manage your symptoms very often.

Bipolar Disorder: I want candy! I want candy this month! This month is Halloween!

Iris: You’re behaving like a spoiled toddler. Your temper tantrum isn’t going to change my mind.

Bipolar Disorder: This is the month for candy! If I don’t get some candy, some fun, in your brain this month I’ll… Well, I’ll…. I’ll pout! That’s what I’ll do.

Iris: See? What did I say? Just like a spoiled toddler.

Bipolar Disorder: So, you’re going to deny me any more sugar? And you’re going to deny me more nights of broken sleep too?

Iris: Yes. You get to come along with me this month. I don’t have any choice in that. But you are not in charge of me. I am the one making decisions here. Not you. Understood?

Bipolar Disorder: Fine. Have it your way. Be boring!

Iris: Good. But, I’m not bored, by the way.

Bipolar Disorder: What do you mean?

Iris: I’ve been transcribing out conversation.  Every word. I’m saving it, and I’m sure it will become very useful for me as a reminder.

Bipolar Disorder: What reminder? For what?

Iris: For when you try this again next month. Though I’m sure you’ll be demanding Thanksgiving candy next time. Thanks for your input!

Bipolar Disorder: What?! No way! You tricked ME!

Iris: Happy Halloween!


Remember Your Collaborators!

We’re all eight days into April now, and I’m back to taking my dialogue writing prompts for these new daily scenes from my trusty writing prompt book. In case anyone reading this blog is curious, the book I’m using to select my writing prompts is a small paperback Writer’s Digest book called:

The Writer’s Book of Matches
1,001 Prompts to Ignite your Fiction
By the Staff of Freshly Boiled Peanuts – A literary Journal

So, if any of you are wanting to write scenes, or short stories, along with me, now you know where my prompts are coming from when I am not finding them on the Internet.

The two dialogue writing prompts I selected from the book above for my scene work today are these:

“I had three kids. Two boys and a girl.”

“So, who’s the idiot stuck in the elevator?”

Today’s scene got me thinking about the settings of the plays we write for the theatre. Plays are virtually unlimited in what stories can be told on a stage but it does make it easier to tell a story on a stage, in the practical aspects of producing live theatre, to set our plays in locations that can be represented onstage without bankrupting the budgets of the theatres who produce our plays. While you can represent many different locations using simple sets with the aid of creative design of lights and sound, it is still easier on theatre audiences to not have to familiarize themselves with too many different locations during an evening out watching a play.

In the past, many plays consisted of a single set, sometimes quite realistically portrayed, that was the single location for the entire play. Other plays worked well with a second set for the duration of the second act of a play. This arrangement worked well due to the audience stepping out into the lobby for fifteen minutes or more at intermission, thus giving the running crew time to change out the two sets. Many of the plays which were written to suit these single, or dual set designs, were written prior to the advent of television and film. Audiences then were not expecting to see many locations in an evening of entertainment. Film and television changed all that.

Since the dawn of film and television, the feel of some new theatrical plays has begun to take a turn for the cinematic. Playwrights who grew up watching television and films, instead of plays and perhaps opera or ballet, as their primary sources of being told stories, began writing plays with more locations in them. Oftentimes, theatres producing those new plays found they were needing far less realistic sets, perhaps due to the necessity to change sets more frequently during a production.

I learned in my years of studying the craft of playwriting that when you are a new playwright it is recommended to keep the locations in your plays simple. When you’re a new playwright you’re likely to bet setting your sights on small professional theatre companies,  and also community theatres, who both usually have to work within the constraints of modest budgets, to produce your first plays. If you want your plays to be selected for production then writing in locations that a modest budget can afford to create will make your play more likely to be selected for production over plays set in locales that are very complex or many in number.

Writing plays isn’t merely the act of writing conversations for characters to have on stage though the talents of the actors portraying them onstage. There are many aspects of technical theatre that playwrights would do well to consider when writing their plays too. Theatre is a collaborative art and I think it’s always a good idea to keep the rest of the collaborative team, and what they will bring to the production, at least in the back of your mind when you begin creating the world of your play.